Back in 2011 and 2012, SE was different. These days it feels as if more than half my questions get shut down as off topic, and of those, only half are done so politely and helpfully. Here's the latest example:

Webcomic about "small differences" ruining a date (specifically one of them likes YOHpt1 the other YOHpt2)

I find it frustrating to ask a sincere question on what is supposed to be the best Q&A site in town, and get worse than no help. A simple fix here is proposed in the title. Another option could be a "Tohu Wa Bohu" site where all off-topic questions can be temporarily moved until the proper SE site is either found, or created (if enough similar questions are in the Tohu Wa Bohu to justify new site creation).

  • 5
    The question you linked wasn't closed by a moderator. It was closed by 5 regular users. DJClayworth was merely the first user to vote to close, he didn't close it single-handedly.
    – F1Krazy
    May 22 at 19:22
  • 4
    Does this answer your question? How can a (new) user tell if/when a question will be migrated?, or meta.stackexchange.com/q/374693/282094 meta.stackexchange.com/a/79902/282094 meta.stackexchange.com/q/375440/282094 meta.stackexchange.com/a/139327/282094 meta.stackexchange.com/a/368420/282094 meta.stackexchange.com/a/10250/282094 - there are many approaches to who should look up the suggestion and provide it. Check the main search, the Help - on-topic, and read the FAQs 1st.
    – Rob
    May 22 at 19:33
  • Closes question as off-topic. Suggests OP to ask on Yahoo! Answers ...
    – rene
    May 22 at 20:51
  • The new Yahoo Answers, Quora, will accept any question (after the moderation bots took over, Quora is no longer Yahoo Answers with slightly better grammar; there isn't any difference). May 22 at 22:02
  • 12
    It's your question. Not asking it somewhere where it's off-topic is your responsibility. It's not the responsibility of anyone else to be sufficiently familiar with all other SE sites to be able to say where something is on-topic, nor to go do research to figure out where your question is on-topic. For people with the close-vote privilege on a specific site, the only thing they are responsible for, if they choose to close-vote or reopen-vote, for is to know what's on-topic on that particular site. This may seem harsh, but, ultimately, you are responsible for your question.
    – Makyen
    May 22 at 22:22
  • That doesn't mean people aren't permitted to try to go the extra mile to be especially helpful. But, it does mean that doing so is not, and should not be, a requirement.
    – Makyen
    May 22 at 22:22
  • 4
    This could be solved by introducing a rule that any user who submits more than, say, three off-topic questions has their account deleted:) May 22 at 22:30
  • "only half are done so politely and helpfully" Whatever you mean by "politely and helpfully", it isn't consistent with the documented site goals & protocols.
    – philipxy
    May 23 at 20:32

2 Answers 2


Sometimes, there is no site where the question would be on-topic.

A catch-all site like you propose won't work, since it's not possible to form a community of experts who would be able to answer these questions. On further thought, it might work, but not in the Stack Exchange landscape.

As a question author, it's your duty to make sure the question you're asking is on-topic; it doesn't make sense to shift that responsibility (partially) to the other community members. If you're unsure, you can ask on the site's own Meta, or post a question here.

  • In addition, some questions are closed as off-topic not because they're irrelevant to the site, but because they don't meet some conditions (like movie identification at movies.SE). May 26 at 0:49

One point to note here is that questions are not always closed by moderators. Most of the time, off-topic questions are closed by 3-5 regular users (depending on the site). In most cases, these users only know what's on-/off-topic on the site they are participating on, and may not know the correct place to post your question. However, there are some helpful users out there who suggest possible sites where you can ask your question, but that is not always guaranteed.

But finding the right place to ask is your job. Choose a few sites where you think your question might be on-topic and visit each of their Help Centers to find out exactly what is on-topic and off-topic for that specific site. If you're still unsure, or your question doesn't fit on any of the sites you chose, you can do as Glorfindel suggests in their answer.

As the tag-wiki for the tag says:

  • Not all types of questions belong on a Q&A site, and not everything can find a home here at Stack Exchange.
  • Do some research before asking. It's often helpful to go to https://stackexchange.com, enter some terms in the search bar in the upper-right, check out the sites that show up in the results, and read their help pages. The full list of sites is also available at https://stackexchange.com/sites
  • 4
    People suggesting sites where something might be on-topic often backfires. IME, most people making such suggestions aren't actually familiar with the suggested site and don't really know what's on-topic on that particular site. If the person making the suggestion has a bunch of reputation on the suggested site, then they are likely to know what they are talking about, but if they don't it's likely they don't know. Even elected moderators don't know. The most common topic in the Teachers' Lounge is a moderator asking moderators on another site if a question is on-topic enough for migration.
    – Makyen
    May 22 at 22:29

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .